Monday, May 31, 2010

Move over Cesar.

seriously, the funniest thing i've seen in a while. take 5 minutes and watch it :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

the happy huntress

the happy huntress :: 21/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

for a terrier, spring means one thing.

ground squirrels!!! squeak! squeak!


jane enjoys bounding and boucing throught the field trying to catch one, she loves the squeaking, it drives her NUTS!!

gyp loves the gophers too, but she isn't out for blood like jane is, i'm sure she just wants to herd them, that is not the face of a killer :)

The other dogs like to join in too, but NOBODY shares HER Gopher hole, NOBODY!

Jane adds "stay the f*ck away from my hole!!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a little goes a long way.

a little goes a long way., originally uploaded by sarah ....

if i'm not having a great day, i can take the dogs for a run and an ounce of their happiness goes a long way :)

i'm a little nutty at the best of times, i couldn't imagine my life if i didn't have them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Agility Rollercoaster of a weekend!

This weekend was spent at our first outdoor Agility Trial of the season with 80km winds, pouring rain and temperatures cold enough for snow. By Sunday afternoon it was sunny but still cool and windy. What a weather weekend, what an Agility Weekend! Our group did amazing, I was so proud of everybody, and my guys too!!

We lost our club's 10x20 shade tent to the wind which totally sucked as it housed a lot of us at trials. It lifted like a sail and we found it crumbled up and mangled on Sunday morning.

I ran for the first time in my custom carbon/graphite/titanium knee brace. and OMG I can run! I can run! No pain, no feel of any twisting. It took a bit to get used to but after my 5th or 6th run (of 15) I was good to go, I had to learn to trust it. The brace will have it's own post later this week, stay tuned, it sure is purty.

We spent a fair amount of time staying warm in the vehicle between runs, Kaleb loved that.

So tired, Kaleb fell asleep with his head in my head on the way to dinner Saturday night, seriously, how cute is that?

On to the FUN stuff ... the dogs ran GREAT!!!!! Kaleb thrives in cool wet weather, and Gyp doesn't care either way. I do think the 2 Tim Hortons cinnamon rolls she stole out of the bag on Sunday morning helped with her energy levels LOL

Gyp ran in 9 classes, Qd in 7 (All 3 Standards, Gamblers, both Jumpers and Steeplechase) we ran 2 classes on Friday and it was my first time in the brace and I was a little hesitant and second guessed my self and it showed in my handling. By Saturday morning I was comfortable again with my ability and the brace, and she Q in every class for the rest of the weekend, she didn't miss a beat, and I like to think I handled her the best I have since January. She even pulled the fastest Jumpers time on one of her runs. She also tied for the most Gamble points too. I serped, I threadled, I came to abrupt stops and I RAN, I RAN, I won't lie when I say I was almost brought to tears after our Jumpers runs... it was rain on my face, really.

here is a montage of her runs to some sweet 80's tunes.

Kaleb was super too, spunky and a little on the wild side at times! I had him entered in 6 runs. He Qd in 4 and even managed to place 1st in a couple classes! He Qd in Standard (#48), Jumpers, Gamblers, and Steeplechase. He LOVES running in the rain, I get some of my best runs with him when he is soaking wet. By Sunday afternoon, it was pretty warm and the sun was out. We complained all weekend about being wet, and guess who ran soaking wet Sunday afternoon when the sun was out - he thought it was too warm. Only Kaleb.

We've got a month until Regionals and for the first time in a long while, I am excited for it, considering a few weeks ago I was considering pulling out, now I know I won't be doing that. I still have lots to work on, and this weekend gave me some good ideas for what I need to improve on. I am so grateful I was able to get my brace for this weekend as I was really able to take it for a good test drive. My plan is to now work on small skills and build up for the week before regionals and give them that last week off as I always do, so hopefully we will all be fresh and relaxed.

Friday, May 21, 2010

the crew is ready ...

the crew., originally uploaded by sarah ....

We are heading to an Agility Trial this weekend, and it is supposed to rain the whole weekend. YUCK!

I've packed my rainsuit, my rubber boots and lots of socks.

... atleast the dogs will enjoy running it.

Well except for Jane, she gets to stay home with her dad and cuddle all weekend. Retirement is good she says.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

run for your life!

run for your life! :: 20/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Keep running Jane, those 2 psycho-nutjobs are catching up!

52 Weeks for Dogs

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fight or Flight?

Well I got my MRI results back for my knee last week. I had a feeling it would be what the results now tell me, I was just in denial, or hoping for the best, not sure. Denial and I are good friends, we go way back.

I have completely blown my ACL, nada, zip, zilch, no ligament left. As well my Medial Meniscus is torn. I am relieved I have a full diagnosis, but it doesn't make it better.

My lack of ACL isn't bothering me that much, besides feeling unstable and the hyper-extending there isn't a lot of pain from it, some swelling after alot of exercise and some knee cap pain, which is from the Femur and Tibia not aligning properly, and rubbing on the knee cap (Patella Fermoral Syndrome - which I've been having treated in Physio for 4 months), then it gets stiff and swells. I did injure it 10 years ago playing Rugby. At that time the Ortho. specialist figured it was partially torn. Now it is totally gone. The ACL is required to stabilize the front and backward motion of the knee - sudden stops etc. as well as pivoting, the Meniscus is a cushion and shock absorber ... see where this is going ...

The most painful part is my Meniscus, I am in some amount of pain all the time, I've just gotten used to it. It won't heal on its own - it is cartilage, and it is just hanging there in the knee joint. So as I do more it gets inflamed, then is swells, then it hurts, then I ice, repeat as necessary - a couple times a day when I'm on my leg a lot, a glass of red wine helps at night too. I am at the Gym 3 times a week and now I will will be kicking it up a notch again. My physiotherapist wants me even stronger - call it Pre-hab. Bring it on.

I get a super-mega-custom-knee-brace made today. Designed to keep my leg aligned and act as my ACL should. Then I start a regim of getting used to wearing it at the Gym - doing ladder work, cutting, pivoting, treadmill, biking, free running etc. more strengthening and agility. I need to trust it. I have Regionals and Nationals this summer, and well, I am going to run. I've thought about pulling out, and a part of me still wants too, but Gyp is in her prime, and Kaleb isn't getting any younger. I need to do this, I need to prove it to myself. I'm done with the "why me", I just have to move forward.

The part that scares the shit out of me is Surgery. I can't even get my blood taken without 2 nurses holding me down. And I turn white when I step in a Hospital. The Meniscus repair will put me out for a couple months with physio, but a complete ACL reconstruction with the Meniscus repair will put me out for up to 9 months with intense Physio. My surgeon said no running whatsoever for probably 4 months, no sudden stops, pivoting for up to a year, a strict Physio regim up to a year if I really want to be 100%. For the complete reconstruction, 2 Hamstring tendons are grafted to my Tibia and Femur, holes drilled in the bones and the tendon tied through like a shoelace to mimic the ACL. Sounds fun eh? Not.

I love dog training, and I love Agility. There isn't a dog sport I love more. And it is a major part of my life. I've tried to love other dog sports, but I love this one the most. I have a lot of running years left in me and I want to run, and I want to run fast. I've been a competitive runner off and on since I was 11 years old, it is just sort of important to me to continue doing it. I guess I like to be a part of the race.

The thought of not being active, being so vulnerable, having people do things for me, not driving, being on crutches, not being able to get in the shower by myself, not running, not teaching, not walking the dogs, not working out, not training my dogs, not doing Agility with my guys for a minimum of 6 months scares me to death, so does the fact that I will be immobile. And what if something screws up. I thought the last 4 months were hard. That was nothing. Perhaps there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or maybe a puppy?

I am doing my best to stay positive and convincing my self I can get through Regionals, then Nationals, but a part of me just wants to hide and cry and eat ice cream. If you happen to see me burst out into tears, I'm sorry, on a very rare occasion, I do enjoy a pity party for myself. But if my past life experience has taught me anything, I rarely give up, and if I want something I need to keep my head up, and I fight for it. Hopefully this journey will be no different.

Monday, May 17, 2010

a REAL working dog.

Who is this handsome lad you ask? Well it is Gyp's Dad, Pete in Kentucky.
(not the human one, the DOG one).

Jenny sent me photos of her dad working as the setout dog at the Bluegrass Classic in Kentucky. From what I know it is one of the biggest Trials in the US. Jenny said the sheep were really tough and it was hot, and Pete worked his butt off the whole time.

These photos are from the ceremonies. The dog on the left is Gyp's Dad, Pete. The dog on the right is her half-brother, not sure what his name is but I think he is cute with his prick ears :)

Jenny sent me these photos below from a couple years back, when Pete was running in the Trial, as well moving sheep from field to field in between. He also works cattle and has been known to get them out of thick brush areas they don't want to move from :)

Pete sure seems like he is a dog with a lot of heart and work ethic. I think he passed it on to his daughter :) I wonder if he has big feet like Gyppie too?

Thanks for sending these Jenny!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In the Ring.

Well we did it. We went in the obedience ring. And I was so proud of K, we got better as the weekend went on which I was thrilled with. I'm excited to get back in the ring, I wish we could try again next weekend!!

Friday we started with Open. I wasn't overly nervous, but I was intimidated. I was quiet in the run with k, not my usual goofy self with him. I was told not to overdo the play in transitions between exersizes. But after watching some of the golden retriever handlers I knew I could do way mire and actually have FUN and get more physical with him. His routine was pretty good, not the best ever, but not horrible. He was distraced over the broad jump and pretty much realzied he was on it as he was on the first plank, then he jumped over the last two. I had him set up too close after watching what the other handlers did. His out of sight stays were good, he barked 5 times in the sits and 3 times in the downs. The judge took off 5 marks. If he would have done the broad jump correctly and with full marks he would have had a 192.

Rally in the afternoon went well our first time in Advanced B. It was refreshing to talk to him in the ring. He finished tied for 3rd out of 14 dogs.

I drove here and bak each day, 8 hours of driving over the 2 days, but let me tell you it was nce to sleep in my bed and have a whole night to chill.

Saturday we started with Open again and I tried a new experiment. Do the same routine I do for agility DUH - bark, play and be fast getting to the ring! I got him to bark outside the ring and move around lots and play, play, play! Our routine was much better. He got perfect marks in 4 exersizes!! His drop on recall was spot on, then he saw something in the floor took 2 steps and layed back down. So we got a big fat zero. His out of sight stays were much better only 2 barks in the sits and 1 bark in the down. It wa awesome the judge told hum to be quiet, I think it helped!!!! Again if he would have got full marks on the drop on recall, he would ended with a 193.

We had another Rally run in the afternoon, again same strategy - bark, quick getting the ring while playing and he had a nice run. He got a 99 and placed 2nd of 14 for his second Q.

I'm thrilled with my boy and couldn't be happier. I enjoyed hanging with friends and watching their dogs too!, we are NOT our most comfortable in the obedience ring, but i think with some more experience we will get better.. I'm so excited to get back in the ring this summer. I think we can do it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

summer is near ...

and i have proof!

the dogs are panting! wonderful slobbery, wet panting!

finally! the it's warm enough for the dogs to actually pant. and i might have actually gotten a bit of a tan this week too :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

facing my fear.

"Decide that you want it

more than you are afraid of it."

~ Bill Cosby

I am putting K in the ring for the first time for Open Obedience this weekend, not a big deal to some people I am sure, but for me, it is NOT the place I am most comfortable, but who wants to go through life and never challenge yourself? He is also debuting in Advanced Rally.

We've been training hard and hopefully if I can keep my nerves in check we will do OK. Kaleb is so sensitive to my emotions, more than any of my other dogs, so as long as I can stay calm, confident and not panic we should be OK, otherwise he will get anxious and panic too - which is not pretty.

I have a little list of tips and reminders that I will try to remember...

1. Have fun
2. Smile
3. Be a tree (i tend to move my body too much)
4. Be confident for Kaleb
5. It's just another training day
6. Don't move until the Judge tells you too
7. Breathe
8. Line my self up in the middle of the high jump, not kaleb
9. Connect with him during the transitions
10. Bring my dumbell
11. Don't pet him in the long sits and downs (i did that in his CD and lost 2 points!)
12. Exhale

... any other helpful hints would be appreciated, I can use all the help I can get!

... and Just because she is cute ... it's Gyppie :)

Birthday Girl

11 :: 19/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

jane is more spoiled than most dogs on an average day. the little shit has a bigger wardrobe than i do.

you add her birthday and her grammy in the mix, and GOOD GOD, all hell breaks loose.

what? you've never seen a dog in a pink quilted coat with hearts on it?

"Jane even looks cute when she's killing things" - Grammy Pat

It's been 30 minutes and she is still squeaking that little sheep, please Jane, put it out of its misery.

a girl never tells her age ... but happy 11th birthday jane, my first dog, my muse, my teacher, my snugglebug.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You're in southern Alberta when ...

There is a band playing on a flatbed in a horse arena ...
(they were great by the way, they played everything from Johnny Cash to Kings of Leon)

that said horse arena is full of 250 people drinkin' and having a good time ...

there is a modified generator with handlebars making pina coladas ...

there is a dirt pile for kids to play in ...

The owner of the Arena we rent threw a big Party - he had bid on a local Band and for a Cancer Fundraiser (which raised $100,000 locally), and thought threw a big party and roast beef dinner in memory and appreciation, and well who doesn't like a party? It was a great time and I'm pretty sure Maureen and I were the only Vegetarians in the place :)

Earlier in the day - before the booze, we ran a fun demo and we had 12 people and 15 dogs show up, it was great fun! The people totally loved it, and there were kids that got to meet the dogs afterwards too. There was even cash prizes at the end! Congrats to Gyp, Pearl and Maggie who took the top 3 spots! Jane even came out of retirement and had a great time! I hope he makes this an annual event. How many parties can you go to and have your dogs there?? I'll have some demo pics soon!

Jane loved the live band, I could barley keep her from dancing on the tables :) I had to keep her from drinkin' too much ... she lives up to her name "Rowdy Jane" without the help from booze.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

art is what you can get away with.

Andy Warhol. one of my fav artists, creative minds, genius, icons, and mad man. He inspires me with his madness, and well so does Jane with her madness, a perfect pairing.

2 years ago i was lucky enough to see one of his travelling exhibitions, if i ever have a creative block, i think of his exhibition and what i saw that day. i can't even explain it. amazing. inspiring. disturbing. i could go for hours about him, but instead i will leave you with a tribute.

here is jane with some prints i bought from the exhibition.

This weeks 52 weeks of dogs had a "Pop Culture" challenge who better than Warhol .. who better do do Warhol than Jane.

"My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person."

"Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they'll just have to learn how to be babies longer."

"The world fascinates me."

, originally uploaded by sarah ....

technical: i turned the photo to grey scale, bumped up contrast, added halftone filter, pink/green overlay, added my fav quote in helvetica neue, tada ... Jane meets Warhol.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


7am, originally uploaded by sarah ....

K-man went in for his "Geriatric" work at the Vet yesterday ... I hate that word. I get visions of old people dying in hospital beds, I dunno, just not a nice word to me. Though maybe it is because I have issues with things getting older and dying, but that is a whole other session on the leather couch. Kaleb is 8 years old, but age is just a number as far as he is concerned.

Anyway, he got a full panel of bloodwork, I even got to help :) his thyroid is being checked too.

And have any of you tried to get a boy dog to pee in a cup? It is a cup on a stick which to Kaleb looks very similar to a chuckit ... so there i am leaving the clinic to take kaleb out to pee, and he is jumping up at the chuckit-pee cup ... I did manage to get a sample thankfully ... and he did manage to NOT jump at the chuckit-pee cup after it was "full".

Anyways I am hopeful that he is healthy on the inside, as he is full of youthful vitality from the outside.

p.s. the photo was taken on Vancouver Island a few years ago on an early morning walk at 7am. It is snowing outside today, and I refuse to take any more snow photos until it is actually winter again. The Beach looks much better.

Monday, May 3, 2010

gone to the dogs.

I travelled my fourth weekend in a row to Calgary ... why don't I live there I ask myself? Then I drive on Deerfoot in Monday morning Rush Hour traffic, then it all comes back to me.

Saturday Amanda organized an Obed/rally fun match here in town, I just stayed for the Obedience part. K is entered in Open for the first time in a couple weeks (GULP), and the more ring experience the better - for me more than him! I am happy to report he was great! He scored a 194.5, barked 3 times in his out of sight stays and was overall a very good boy. I just need to remember to keep my body a little less animated on recalls etc. Jane was amazing in Novice, retirement has been good to her, she placed 1st and scored a 197.5, won a super cool toy and Gyppie scored a 193 for 4th place. I'm feeling more confident about getting in the ring now. We've done 3 full run throughs in 2 weeks, and each time is better. Here's hoping we can keep it together in 2 weeks from now. I've got a list of reminders like I use in Agility, and hopefully that will help me keep my cool.

Sunday I heading up to Calgary with Gyppie for Terry Simon's seminar, it ran in a Trial format with feedback after each run. We ran 3 Challenge courses and 1 Mas. Jumpers. Gyp ran great, but was really tired by the end of the day. I pushed myself and was happy with most of my handling, lots of crazy discrimination, and lots of tough handling to be had (lots of cool things to set up again). The funniest thing was her 20/20 on the Table, she jumps up right into position ... um perhaps we should train that differently? She was the only dog in the seminar to Q in the second and third Challenge classes we ran - I don't run for the Qs, I let the cards fall as they may, and they fell good on those 2 runs. She always gives me 110%, and I was happy I was able to to do the same for her this weekend. My knee was pretty sore in the morning, but by the afternoon, it didn't feel to bad, I'm getting more used to my brace each time I run in it.

I stayed overnight at Jan and Dave's Sunday night, and Gyp fit right in with their shelties :)

Gyppie had an appointment with Dr.Devall this morning so it saves another trip to Calgary if I can do it all at once. Dr. Devall took about an hour with us and did some adjustments on Gyp, some laser on her lower lumbar area as well as some acupuncture. Gyp just loves her and follows her around the room begging for more cookies. I wanted to take her in to checked out after a hard day of running - so I know what I am dealing with. And yesterday's courses were more than she would run in a single days training or at a Trial in one day. She was a little sore in her lower lumbar, and her inner thigh area - just tired muscles - well so are mine, her neck was loosy-goosy and her shoulders felt good too. After Treatment she re-checked her and things seem to have loosened up, so that is good! I have some chinese herbs that combined with her other supplements should help with fast recovery times after heavy exercise. I think I might take them for myself too LOL I am fascinated with the kind of preventative treatments we can do with our dogs to keep them in top shape. She goes back next month and hopefully her and I will be in tip-top shape come regionals. I see my massage therapist tomorrow and my MRI is Thursday this week, I'm anxious, nervous and excited to get a (hopefully) final diagnosis on my knee and area issues.

Now back to regular scheduled reality ...